What to do if I’m a renter and injured myself on the property?

About 3 months ago, I slipped and fell due to an external stair giving way. My fall resulted in my ankle breaking in 3 places, surgery and a plate and screws in my ankle. My landlord is stating that his insurance is refusing to pay because I should have had renters insurance. My medical bills are up to 53K. Should the financial responsibility be on me?

Asked on January 23, 2013 under Personal Injury, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether or not the landlord did in fact know that the stair was weak, ricky, in dangering of falling, etc., such as because you or some other tenant told the landlord; or if any reasonable landlord should have known of the danger, such as because the stair was visibily sagging or pulling away from the wall; or if the stair had not been built to code in the first place. In those cases, the landlord was negligent, or unreasonably careless, in some way, such as by ignoring a clear risk of which it was aware, or by not following building code in the first place. Such negligence would likely mean that the landlord was at fault; and fault leads to liability, or the financial responsibility for injures and medical costs.

However, if the stair had been build to code and the landlord neigher knew nor had any reason to know of any particular risk, the landlord would not be liable; the landlord is not the tenant's insurer, and is only liable when at fault.

With $53k at stake, it would seem well worth your time to discuss this matter with a personal injury attorney, who can help determine if you have a case and how strong it might be.


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